Zero Water vs. Berkey

If you are looking for a water filter system, the chances are that two brands came up during your research a lot – Zero Water and Berkey. Both are widely used among filtration system enthusiasts. While they may seem to have an identical process for filtration, they are actually quite different.

So, if you are choosing between the two, make sure to dig deeper and find the merits and limitations of both. Don’t worry; we have made such research easy for you by compiling everything you ought to know about the two water filter systems. 

A deep dive into Zero Water

Zero Water filters are known for their compact size and low price. They are made from BPA-free plastic (except for its 40-cup variant, which is made of glass. Overall, the filter uses a five-compartment filtration process, whereby each compartment helps in removing the different types of contaminants, ranging from solids to metals. 

Advantages of using Zero Water

For those of you who are looking for a water filtration unit to take with you for your outdoor trips, Zero Water might be ideal for you since it is quite compact and hence easy to carry. It is also quite sturdy and made from quality material, making it a robust investment. 

As it comes in various sizes, it can fit on a wide range of water coolers. Its five-compartment process ensures that the water gets filtered properly. 

 Limitations of using Zero Water

The same compact feature, which can be a blessing for some, can be a big nuisance for others. This is because its limited capacity isn’t great when you are trying to filter a lot of water in one go. In this sense, it is not cut out for indoor household usage. 

Another potential drawback associated with Zero water filters is that after a month and a half of usage, the filter starts to exude a foul smell in the water and gives it a bad taste. Additionally, due to the complicated compartmental filtration process, Zero Water units are prone to leakages.

It’s Berkey Time

Zero Water vs. Berkey

Berkey Filter is also available in various sizes and can be used for both a single person or for as many as eight people. All its varieties are made from stainless steel and are considerably pricier than Zero Water. 

Advantages of using Berkey

While many filtration systems, including Zero Water, suffer from the onset of foul odor after prolonged use, this is not the case with Berkey. Users have reported that the water filtered from it does not smell or taste bad, regardless of how old the filter gets. 

Additionally, since it doesn’t use electricity, it is an energy-efficient product and hence saves money in the long run. If you choose the right sizes, it is quite portable for outdoor activities as well.

What truly stands out in this product is the easy installation process, which can be performed by a layman without any expert guidance. 

Limitations of using Berkey

Although, in the long run, Berkey may help save more money than many electricity-powered filters, the higher initial cost makes it a premium purchase. Additionally, the filtration process takes quite a while and hence is not convenient for those looking for a quick solution to their drinking woes. Hence, it is not a household filter.  

Additionally, the fact that you need to keep checking the water level in it and fill it up in advance to ensure that you have filtered water by the time you are thirsty requires a lot of planning and can seem tedious. 

Zero Water vs. Berkey: Ultimate Comparison

Now that you know the pros and cons of investing in both Zero Water and Berkey filters let’s see how well they fare when pitted against each other. Here, we compare their filtration methods, effectiveness, and cost. 

1.      Filtration Methods

As mentioned above, Zero Water makes use of a five-compartment filtration method where components like metals, chemicals, and solids are filtered in the five stages, leading to highly filtered water. While it is thorough, the complexity also leads to leakage and the growth of mold. 

Berkey uses gravity water filters, including black and white filters, that help the water undergo a specialized purification process. It begins with a matrix containing microscopic pores that help in filtering out bacteria, parasites, and solids. After this microfiltration, an ionic barrier is used to filter out viruses and chemicals. Any heavy minerals are further removed via the ion exchange method.

2.      Effectiveness

While both perform better than the average filter system available in the market, between the two, Berkey markets its filtration ability against more contaminants than Zero Water. However, it is important to note that Zero water only publishes performance against contaminants that are required for NSF certification, so it would be wrong to say that Zero Water doesn’t work against those contaminants – there isn’t any written claim about it. 

One aspect where Zero Water is more effective than Berkey is the removal of total dissolved solids. These contaminants play a role in making water hard. And while Zero Water removes it, Berkey does not. 

3.      Cost and Maintenance 

Zero Water is far more cost-effective than Big Berkey, with an 80 USD difference in their price on average. Additionally, to maintain the filter, you need to invest in filters. A 16-pack of filters would last you two years. 

On the other hand, Berkey’s two filter models begin with double-digit costs. But the good thing is that you don’t need to replace their filters as frequently as Zero Water. They can last you from five to ten years. 

Hence, while Zero Water is more cost-effective initially, its cost of maintenance is higher than Berkey. 


In summary, both Berkey and Zero Water succeed in removing most contaminants from water, are easy to install and carry, and are mainly made for limited use rather than household use. They are cost-effective in different ways. 

Neither Zero Water nor Berkey can be called a universal winner. Each has its merits and demerits. And at the end of the day, it depends on what you need a water filter for and what your budget and concerns are. What might be a winner for you might not be one for others.

So, align your priorities and decide which water filter is better for you. Good luck!


This is my blog about the ways and solutions that can help you improve your health by taking more value from drinking water. As improving health means a lot to me, I decided to create the Water On Top project with the purpose to reveal the benefits of water, the finest products to take our daily water to another level, and much more great stuff about water that I believe is on top of our nutrition.

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